By Ashley Dunkak
@AshleyDunkak

CBS DETROIT – The two longest-tenured members of the Detroit Lions offensive line, center Dominic Raiola and guard Rob Sims, did not know Monday whether they would return in 2015.

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Neither did head coach Jim Caldwell, who said no decisions had been made on whether Raiola and Sims would be back.

“That’s going to take us a little bit,” Caldwell said. “Those are things we have to weigh out. We have to sit, we have to talk about them, we have to see how they work in terms of numbers – there’s just a number of different things, and it’s not an easy process. It’s also not fair for me to stand up here and talk about those things or give you sort of a state of the union address at this particular time without having an opportunity to really go through it. I do understand that [general manager] Martin [Mayhew] does make himself available to you all sometime this week, and typically at that time I know he does give you some direction in terms of what we’re thinking.

“We didn’t play anywhere as well as we’d like,” Caldwell added. “Any time you fall a little short you always see ways you can improve and get better, but I do think that the future looks bright for our entire team across the board, including the offensive line.”

Both free agents, Raiola and Sims have been stalwarts of the unit for years – Sims since 2010 and Raiola since 2001. If the Lions do not want to bring back Sims, 31, he could likely find work elsewhere. For Raiola, 36, the end of his career with the Lions would almost certainly be the end of his career altogether.

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Coming off only the second winning season of his career, however, Raiola wants to be back in 2015.

“I’m optimistic,” Raiola said. “I think I will be. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m not. I still want to play. I still think I have a lot to offer and a lot to offer this locker room if I could go one more go-around. I’d be honored.”

Sims would also like to return. He played all 16 regular season games for the Lions this year, the only offensive lineman to do so. (Raiola would have done so also had he not missed the game against the Green Bay Packers because of a suspension.)

“I was going through some things,” Sims said. “I fought through it. I’m not the type of person to make excuses. I just take my lumps as they come. I did that and just kept playing, man, kept playing and got better throughout the year and got stronger throughout the year and got over anything that was ailing me. That’s the thing. I prided myself on being available every single game – I’ve played 80 straight or whatever it is – and trying to be as consistent as possible. I’ve tried to do that. I think my main goal coming in here was – the 10 years previous from me being here that it’d been 16 other guards, and that was enough. That’s enough … We’ll see what happens, but me holding it down for five years, man, I’m proud of that.

“I feel like I’ve proven to the powers-that-be that I can still play this game,” Sims added. “We’ll see what they think.”

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